Sammi’s Weekender #218 (tessellate)

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Geometric Memory

It’s one of those words,
comforting to hear and speak.

To say as tongues touch teeth,
not lips, a fun word to think.

Fifty years since projected
mosaics, as she asked,
“Does this tessellate?” We
learned patterned meanings.

No use for the word, till now.
Yet, I remember the day and teacher
who taught me how polygons tessellate.


Look both ways teaching and learning lessons.
Memories are forever but mind the gaps for irretrievable loses.

Sammi’s Weekender #211 (nomenclature)

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Handle With Care

Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge,
in the 10th of Poemcrazy said,
“in practical shoes, holding forth
with firm opinions”
were too many Sues.

Birthed and baptized, lacking
middle saintly nomenclature,
seeking to assert rightful independence,
Confirmation granted my pick,
Saint Bartholomew, a sub
for unsainted Bartley.

Mom had a fit. We fought.
She wanted Richard. I did not.
Constant embarrassment,
my lifelong reminder,
my middle moniker: John.
I wish I agreed to Richard,
at least a better memory.


Look both ways for better self-names. How often would we change?
I’m Dad, Opa, Mister Bill to some, cantankerous (and other adjectives)
Bill or Billy to the few.
Mind the gaps where we may only name things, pets, and kids.

Parody Poetry: Bull Shit! (NaPoWriMo day 27)

It took me all day (admittedly, I was busy) to find my response to the 2021, NaPoWriMo 27th prompt, which was to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

It was dinner time before I chose the contrived word, lilo. It’s supposed to mean “a friendship that can be dormant for years only to pick right back up instantly, as if no time had passed since last seeing each other.”


I was friends with Jimmy as far back as I can recall.
Like forever. He was a grade ahead of me,
but only seven months older. Jack was younger.
Jack and I became friends in high school,
Class of ’64. Jimmy might have been ’64 too,
but I don’t recall cuz jumbled memory. It’s fishy.

I was the one who moved away,
yet so did they, eventually. But I went first.

That bond when you grow up together,
close in every way. Boys become men.
That’s sad. I knew their foibles and flaws,
and I suppose they knew mine. Jack did for sure.

Jimmy was a hyperbolist. He wanted to impress me.
To prove himself. Why? I feel guilty.
Why did he always feel like that? I loved Jim for him.
I knew when he lied, exaggerated, or fibbed up a storm.
I didn’t care, but it was pointless.

Fifty years later, face to face, Jack and I realized
we were alike in many ways, not all, but for years
neither would broach one thing cuz we both thought wrong.
The irony was we lost something there.
We each assumed, and we were wrong
about our best friends. I feel sorry about that.

When I last saw Jimmy, we met and talked.
Jimmy told me of all his achievements.
When and how life had cheated him: The Navy.
We hugged meeting and parting, as old men
who’d not seen each other since being children
will do. I knew then, Jim as was not well.

Jimmy died. Then Jack. We can’t lilo.
All I can do is to write about them and me.
Maybe that’s something. But good god we were
friends who did a lot of childish,
stupid, teenage shit together. I wish we’d
all been more honest as men. Like boys.


Look both ways in old friendships
unaffected by time or tribulation.
Mind the gaps.
Drink to the reunion. Nothing is for always.

Parody Poetry: Older than before (NaPoWriMo day 26)

For NaPo day 26, I was to write a parody. I was to find a poem or song and write an altered version of it. A parody is also called a spoof, a send-up, a take-off, a lampoon, a play on something, or a caricature. It is a creative work designed to imitate, comment on, and/or make fun of its subject by means of satiric or ironic imitation.

I decided to work on the song(s) “Old Hippie” by the Bellamy Brothers, a classic paean to male boomers that many of us related to. David Bellamy wrote three of these: one at 35, one at 45, and one at 55. Mine goes to 75 (the age of the other brother) and is more about me.


He turns seventy-five on a Tuesday
sometime late this next July.
Can’t believe his friends’ all dead,
but down the same old road he’ll  still try
to understand and to keep his level head.
But now he craves those crazy days
with his shoulders back,
his chin held proud and high.
He still looks at life and wonders why.
He stopped with church and never prays
but he never wonders when he’ll die.

He still loves old soft county rock,
his poems come from just such songs.
His only friends are now computer faces,
and medicine pros working to help him get along,
with medical-grade stainless steel heart parts.
But he’ll run no more endurance races,
Just the tips and bits on legs that hate him.

He’s an old soldier who wants to be
a hippie getting older every day,
with hair and colors and closet disco music.
An old hippie who knows what life is for,
still wanting to be her man, before
she goes knocking on his door.

He’s an old man who always hated war,
but seemed to know what it was for.
He’s been confused by a government
he both supports and finds disgusting,
and people who tell him to forgive,
while he decides to let them live.

He likes people but not in crowds.
He craves his tribe, but they’ve all died.
Spending quiet time at home alone,
his kids are still his universe,
and Texas is still his home.

He’s a boomer till the day he dies,
he now fears life more than death,
he’s looked at evil in the eye
believes in love and wonders why,
then drums to ten below his breath.


Look both ways and avoid reading the obituaries.
Mind the gaps in everything but believe
you’re this damn old.

Poetry: Sijo for Two (NaPoWriMo day 20)

The NaPo prompt for day 20 was to write a poem in a traditional Korean poetic form called sijo, in English of course. Sijo is a specific form with a little flexibility unless one wished to exercise poetic license to color outside the lines. Since these are only three lines of 14 to 16 syllables each, I wrote two for Tuesday.


Marvelous Melancholy

I forgot about something important. What being bored feels like.
Oh, how I long for the days when I could do what I wanted.
Now I can’t just up and do, up and go. I mustn’t fall on my ass.

***

A Taste of Tint

Like yellow, it has never been one of my favorite colors.
Did I ever favor any one color over another?
I’m starting to like orange. Never saw a color I didn’t like.


Look both ways. Then smile. Sing a song, “I’m Alive!”
Mind the gaps for forgotten sorrow or the taste of color.

Poetry: Dark Moon Rising (NaPoWriMo day 17)

For better or worse, the moon seems to exert a powerful hold on poets. Today, I was challenged to stop fighting the moon. I didn’t know I was, but I was to lean in and accept the moon. I was to know that the moon wants what’s best for me. I was to write a poem that is about, or that involves, the moon.


Dark Moon Rising

Today it is waxing crescent,
can be called the drinking moon,
because it wouldn’t spill a drop.

The full moon rising
this month and year,
should be April twenty-sixth,
it’s Spring’s Pink Super-moon,
not pink in color, but calls to a flower.

Tonight, the moon’s brightness
at twenty-four percent,
flying four point eight-two days
of its twenty-nine point five-three
days to orbit the earth
and to do its thing.

Writers love our moon
it anchors our latest story,
choosing when the moon is full
or when it’s gone
and making moon anew.

For the moon of the night
it’s not the sun’s reflection
that makes our moon so bright,
it’s the honest truth of darkness,
the darkness of the night.


Find your way in the darkness, use the moon for light.
But mind the gaps for there are dangers in the night.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender #205 (uncanny)

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Magic Music

Music finds my mood,
picks at my soul
it finds my feelings,
uncannily,
making music mine.
Is our love for sound and music
the saving grace of life?
Or is it our destiny
not to think about it twice?


Listen to the music but look to see it both ways.
The gaps between the notes, a place where angels play.

Poetry: Dad’s Ways (NaPoWriMo day 15)

For today’s NaPo prompt, I was supposed to think about (as in remember) a small habit I picked up from one of my parents. Then, I was to write, first about remembering my parent engaged in that behavior before writing about me doing the same thing.

I can do none of that. I recall no small habits of Mom or Dad, much less identify any I copied.

This prompt is one of several generative writing prompts created by Juan Martinez for his college-age creative writing students at Northwestern University. I’ve not been a college student for many years and probably completed my undergraduate degree before Professor Martinez was born.

But I wanted to write a poem from this prompt. Since Martinez used the term generative, I felt comfortable using his idea as the genesis for one applicable to my life by adjusting the parental habit concept to my father. Several of my father’s customs so irritated me that I intentionally do the opposite, do not do them, or if I ever did, I stopped copying them many years ago. This is not phyco-babble. I loved my Dad (sort of) but I despised much of what he did.

That way, I can remember and write about him while also writing about me not engaging in the same behavior, a bit of a reverse of the NaPo prompt. The original theme of a poem about my parent’s habits remains.


I loved him and I think
he loved me, but I can’t recall
him saying it. I’m freer with
I love you’s, hugs, and kisses. I don’t think
Mom considered him a good man.

He had only apple butter and cold
processed meat sandwiches as a kid.
I learned about apple butter at Jimmy’s house.
It was not allowed in ours.

Except for some dining-out places,
I hate for people to wait on or to serve me,
he seemed to expect it,
especially from my Mom.

His teeth spent nights in a glass with water,
I am meticulous about dental hygiene.

He smoked himself to death. I quit long ago.
He had religion. I gave that up too.
He often laid on the couch. I never do.

Our bathroom sink was always disgusting
because of his mess. I clean mine several times
each day and never leave it wet. I don’t think
I’m anal, but I pick up my shit and fix cockeyed things.

I learned how to do things and to have the right tools
before I start. He learned as he worked,
never with the right tool for the job.
I watched his frustration and learned
what not to do.

He didn’t drive. I have a motorcycle.
He smelled too much of cologne,
like a French whore house to me.
I never use scented products to smell attractive.

I believe exercise is good medicine,
he didn’t think so. I fight with my temper,
he often lost his without guilt. I tried to keep away
from him and that violent loss of control.

His ethnic epithets seemed normal Archie
Bunker stuff, I avoid them because of him,
not due to today’s PC environment. It was called
All In the Family, if you don’t know.

It seems to me that my Dad’s good influence
on me was letting me see, hear, and smell
that meat-and-potatoes Irishman who
I believe, did the best he could, and I knew
all along Mom wanted better.


Look both ways at their foibles and yours.
Nobody’s perfect, of course,
but mind the gaps to be the best you can.

 

Poetry: Mello Bill (NaPoWriMo day 14)

The NaPo prompt for today was to write a poem that “delves into the meaning” of my first or last name. For me, that’s about family history.


Mom couldn’t remember her mother,
but her father lived much longer. I,
while given his name, never met him
or any grandparent.

Mom’s family propensity
for female progeny meant that I
could have been baptized Wilhelmina.
But the presence of a penis undermined
her best planned pronouncements. I was William,
after my maternal grandfather, yet Mom and Sis
often teased by directing that female alias at me.

For my name, more meaning
requires German or Norman research,
the discovery of which
has nothing to do with me.

Neighbors often called me Danny
after my Dad or older half-brother, but
I told them, “I’m Billy.”
They often seemed confused.
Mom said I was demonstrative (whatever that meant).
Wilhelmina probably would have been histrionic.
Today it’s curmudgeonly snarkastic, but they love me.

I don’t know if so-called meanings of my name
have squat-all to do with who I am, or this William.
It’s Bill that I prefer to go by although our first born
is also named William and goes by Billy
(or Bill when I’m not around).

As for that “strong-willed warrior,
protector, or helmet” stuff from the dictionaries,
regarding the meanings of my first name,
none of it has anything to do with me,
or who I am.

Yet, some who know would call me stubborn.
And there were all those years in uniform
for which people insist on thanking me,
as if I’d been an underpaid volunteer.
Maybe so, maybe not. I guess we’ll never know.


Look both ways and inward.
Does your name define who you are, or is it the other way around?
Mind the gaps in family history, you might not be who you think you are.